What More Could You Need?
Leaving your home, where you’ve lived for years, can be difficult. When you finally decide to pack up and move to a retirement community, wouldn’t it be nice to know that—despite how much care you need down the road—you’ll never have to move again?
What Are Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)?
Just as the name implies, a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) offers a complete continuum of care. When many residents move in, they live as
independently as they did in their own homes. The only kinds of “care” generally involved at this point are home maintenance, transportation and meal preparation.
Moving in before you need care means you have time to shop around for the community that is the best fit for you. It’s also “the best value for your money,” says Carol Roycroft, marketing director at Croasdaile Village in Durham. “You need to be physically able to enjoy all the benefits, take the trips, enjoy the classes and participate in the wellness programs.”
Perhaps most importantly, when you move in at this first rung of the continuum, you have top priority for higher levels of care. That’s important because when you need that level of care, you probably won’t have time to shop around or put your name on a waiting list. “They (residents) will have access to any level of care that should ever be needed—everything from home care to assisted living to memory care, rehab, short-term rehab and long-term skilled nursing,” explains Jerry Cooper, marketing director of Liberty Senior Living, the parent company of Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall, scheduled to open in Wilmington in the summer of 2015.
Safe and Secure
While the continuum of care is the primary benefit, there are many others, security being chief among them. “The adult child knows that their parent is in a place that when they need help they can get it pretty quickly—anything from having a clogged drain in the bathroom sink to needing immediate medical assistance,” says Laura Regan, marketing director of the Village at Brookwood in Burlington.
But CCRCs ensure that you also remain safe from outside harm. Community relations representative Janice Pearce says The Oaks at Whitaker Glen in Raleigh has an electronic door system to give residents—and their families—a real feeling of security.
A Fun Environment
Interacting with others has been proven to reduce stress, improve self-esteem and even extend lives; however, too often seniors become isolated. At a CCRC, a conversation, a chess game or simple companionship is just a few steps away. Residents “enjoy getting know their neighbors and build many long-lasting friendships,” explains Kim Poindexter, marketing director at Windsor Point in Fuquay-Varina.
To promote interaction, communities offer a wide array of activities—everything from an evening at the symphony or baseball game to classes at the many universities in the area. “We try to round things out so there are opportunities for people with different interests,” says Regan.
“Our residents comment they can sit with someone different from a different location and with a different background at dinner every night and it’s really quite interesting,” notes Roycroft.
Location, Location, Location
Just as important as what the community has to offer is where it’s located. You’ll find many CCRCs tucked away on picturesque, bucolic campuses but with easy access to hospitals, culture, shopping. In essence, the best of both worlds.
“You feel like you’re out in the country, but you’re four miles from downtown Durham,” says Roycroft about Croasdaile Village. The Durham Performing Arts Center, university campuses and three hospitals are all within a four-mile radius of the community.
The same goes for The Oaks at Whitaker Glen. “We are away from a busy highway and have walking trails and nature around us, but you can be in downtown Raleigh in five or six minutes,” says Pearce.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
But often the deciding factor for seniors choosing a CCRC is whether the community makes them feel at home. The ambiance certainly plays in part in this sentiment, but it’s the staff that often seal the deal.
“We have great tenure with our staff that has created a camaraderie and great loving, family-oriented relationship between our residents and staff,” says Pearce